By Oliver Trust and Liu Yang
Quitting has never been an option for Belgian footballer Benito Raman.
Despite several setbacks over the past few months, the 25-year-old is optimistic about turning things around wearing the shirt of Schalke 04, when facing 2020 treble-winning Bayern Munich in the 2020/2021 Bundesliga season opener this Friday evening.
“We face the world’s best team, and you can say it is one of the hardest games you can start with. But still, it’s a game, and this gives you the chance to achieve some points,” the striker told Xinhua in an interview.
Raman spoke about Schalke’s determination for a better Bundesliga campaign than last season, when the team finished a disappointing 12th and his ambition to play the 2021 Euro tournament with the Belgian national team.
He said Schalke’s squad needs to forget about last season’s disappointments and try to start afresh. “There is no specific goal for the new season besides doing better,” the attacker said.
The forward recommends a ‘one game at a time’ policy for the struggling Royal Blues.
More than other clubs, Schalke has suffered from games behind closed doors. “Schalke is a club with a very close connection to its enthusiastic fans. To play without them feels strange,” he commented.
The Royal Blues striker welcomed Germany’s federal states’ joint decision to allow the return of 20 percent of the fans in a test-phase until the end of October.
Raman is desperately committed to securing his place in Schalke’s first eleven and make his way back to the Belgian national team.
To secure his club’s place in the Bundesliga and to make the Belgian Euro 2021 squad are his main goals for the upcoming season.
Raman joined Schalke for 6.5 million euros from Dusseldorf a year ago.
“I intend to prove my qualities to my critics. This attitude helps me at Schalke get over tough times with my team,” the 2015 Belgian champion said.
Despite pundits predicting Schalke to be among the relegation candidates, Raman is convinced, “we won’t get into trouble this time. The squad has learned its lesson,” he said.
A new and improved team spirit has developed, he emphasized. “Schalke has a lot of experienced players around that help us to perform better. Everyone is determined to improve.”
After German international Sebastian Rudy and striker Mark Uth returned, the Royal Blues signed Goncalo Paciencia (26) from Frankfurt and Vedad Ibisevic (36) from Hertha, both on loan deals. Competition within the squad is increasing the quality of our team, Raman said.